Bautista wins Race 2, confirms Superpole crash not due to incident with Rea

Alvaro Bautista leaves Mandalika with an even greater WorldSBK championship lead despite crashing out of the Superpole Race.
Alvaro Bautista, Ducati WorldSBK Mandalika 2023
Alvaro Bautista, Ducati WorldSBK Mandalika 2023

The current WorldSBK champion won both longer format races but came unstuck during the 10-lap Superpole Race after minor contact with Jonathan Rea saw him pushed wide. 

Almost in tandem, both riders had the rear of their machines light up as they applied the throttle. However, unlike Rea who managed to save his highside, Bautista was launched over the top of his Panigale V4 R. 

The incident occured following a tough overtake from Rea on the change of direction between turns 11 and 12, with very minor contact made which led to both riders running off the racing line, and therefore onto the dirty part of the track. 

"I entered into corner 12 and Jonathan got the inside," said Bautista. "Both wanted to go into the good line and then we both went out of the line. In this track, if you go out of the line it is very easy to crash. I tried to pick up the bike, be smooth with the gas but I just touched the gas and the rear went boom! 

"The same happened to Jonathan. On a normal track I didn’t crash. Lucky that I was not injured.”

Although Bautista was keen to not blame Rea and insisted racing was clean between the two rivals, the Ducati rider said it could have been avoided. 

"Well, for sure if I go alone then I don’t go outside the line, but no, he tried to overtake me like a normal manouvre," added Bautista. "The problem is that when you have [a small piece] of good asphalt then and both want to enter then it’s impossible. 

"I don’t want to just let him pass and go to the dirty side. So I just tried to stay, he tried to stay and then we touched a little bit and went out.

"I’m not sure if we touched but it was good overtaking and I’m not complaining about it. I crashed because of the dirty part of the track, not because of Jonathan."

Rinaldi loses out on WorldSBK podium after costly mistake

Michael Ruben Rinaldi , race 2, Indonesian WorldSBK, 5 March
Michael Ruben Rinaldi , race 2, Indonesian WorldSBK, 5 March

Looking set to win his first race of the year in both the first edition of Race 2 and the 14-lap restarted race, Michael Ruben Rinaldi instead threw away a comfortable podium with a mistake at turn ten.

Rinaldi, twice opened up a significant gap to the riders behind him, but after Bautista showed impressive late race pace to charge him down and overtake him on the penultimate lap, Rinaldi then ran off-track at the same corner one lap later.

The error resulted in Toprak Razgatlioglu and Xavi Vierge making their way through on the Italian, who after the race said he had no front grip left and that avoiding a crash was his sole focus.  

"Since Friday, as soon as I put a used front I do some laps and then it drops, I lose grip, cannot drive [out of the corner] and this happened again," said Rinaldi. "When we restarted the race nobody had two new tyres. At the beginning I felt okay, pushed and gained 1.5 seconds. 

"But then happened what I said to you. After a few laps with the used tyre the front dropped. The same happened this morning in the warm-up and this morning I found the limit because I crashed. 

"So I knew where the limit was. I tried to bring home the best position but I could not push anymore like I wanted to. Alvaro arrived and passed me. Then, in the final lap I just tried to not crash with the front. 

"But on the exit of turn eight my bike shacked really hard and and by trying not to crash I looked at the handlebars to try and control the bike, but when I looked forward the braking [zone] was already in my face. I missed the braking point and ran wide. It’s a shame."

Read More